*opens google flights*
Man, do I ever love it when I start looking for flight deals — even more when doing the actual booking. You bet if this points to any of the Philippine destinations. But, no. Just because… NO.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I left home when I was 10 years young and am now happily spending sunny days with butterflies fluttering through the thick air before me like a real vacationer. Nope. Yet it feels damn crazy to me how living in foreign lands for nearly 5 years felt like forever that I have lost touch with most of my roots. Walking into old known places just feels absolutely nothing. Living a day to day life in this country has become a foreign concept to me. Getting a cab under the blistering heat has been more like a pain in the ass but I know deep down won’t be the same if it was somewhere along the streets of Thailand.
Tell you what, I’ve been in the Philippines for quite a while now, 70 days to be exact (the longest vacation I’ve had so far), and it already feels like I’m turning 30 tomorrow (I just can’t wait to leave again). As much as I want to feel joy over anything for getting to spend days at home, I feel nothing but the excitement the thought of my next trip brings, and the next after that. Also, I haven’t been out lately, always MIA on dinners and get-togethers with friends I hadn’t seen in months (even years!).
One night, I was asked if I have ever thought about settling somewhere. And then it hit me… how do I feel about “home”? Do I ever want to stay in one place or do I plan to run away for the rest of my life? So many thoughts were running through my head, unusual emotions swirling within me.
Then I figured…
HOME ISN’T HOME ANYMORE, AND I DON’T THINK I’D WANT TO STAY HERE ANY LONGER.
I am writing this with full knowledge of getting dreaded or unwanted comments, more so destructive criticisms. I mean aren’t we often judged, even by our people? But, #sorrynotsorry, I have come to concur that the feeling I have towards my home country is in no way near to how I felt before. Take the “wanderlust” out of the picture because I don’t think you have a say in what I want to achieve for myself. I mean, don’t we all want the best for ourselves? Just because I was born in this country doesn’t mean I have to grow old with it, right?
After a couple of years and now being back, I tend to take public transportation only to end up getting off at the wrong station, ask for directions and make a fool of myself. Sure, coming back was a glorious idea — catching up with friends and family to share missed great moments. And don’t get me started with all the amazing food I have always longed for whilst living abroad. However, nothing else comes after that. When asked if I’m happy to be back, a quick yes there was but expect a “BUT” thereafter.
BUT I can’t wait to leave again and look for a new home. I want a change of scenery. A place where people don’t speak my native language. Click a “reset” button and experience everything again for the first time. I just want to get out of our frontiers and escape all that limits my ability to thrive and shine in full glory.
It’s funny how some family and friends of mine have braced themselves, already accepted the fact how much I’ve changed since I left for my first ever trip abroad, and I mean this at all levels. Dare not say this is just me. If you have experienced living for more than a year away from home, learning a new language, adopting new habits, and becoming a part of a new culture, it is impossible to come back the same and feel like home as you did before.
To put it simply, the concept of home is not just the same anymore, it has not only changed its values but also redefined things in life that used to matter to me. Things don’t feel entirely natural anymore. Perhaps this is too early to say. Perhaps I’m experiencing a quarter-life crisis. Perhaps not.
One thing’s sure though…
We all have our own reasons. We all set our own goals in life.
I am responsible for my own decisions and actions, and I choose to not stay here any longer. The more I spend time at home, the more I realize that I don’t completely fit in anymore. I love my country. I love my family and friends more than anything, but I realized I’m not the same Nomarie who once left years ago and never will be the same again.
But know that my reasons had absolutely nothing to do with the way of life here (tbh, I somehow considered our dirty politics and government lol) but yeah, THIS IS JUST ME.
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there’s some baffling, thrilling solace in getting yourself chilled on the edge of reason, feet dangling between realistic and reckless. And perhaps it just states a clear certainty that an overwhelming probability of vast opportunity lives in this world.. && all we need is insane courage to walk to the edge ✨
CHANGE IS EVERYTHING
Change has always been a favorite concept of mine. The thought it entails of trying new things that are totally strange, in a place far away from home. It just couldn’t get any better than that, hey?! You have this childlike amazement with you all the time. Your curiosity increases. Your creativity improves. You discover things yet you don’t expect anything, not knowing what to do or how, and you just let yourself do things for the first time and everything just seems glorious.
Living abroad mostly feels like a break from your old (boring, normal) life and by the moment you go back and start living in your old routine, the feeling of missing out on life kicks in hard.
This is exactly the feeling I get whenever I’m home. It feels like I’m going nowhere, getting stuck in life. It sucks. So I have to do something. Leave.
I CRAVE FOR FREEDOM
Doesn’t it feel like you have a set of rules to follow every. single. damn. time when you’re home?
I say the best thing about leaving home is having the freedom to do whatever you want, live on your own terms, and discover your roles in the society you’re in. The world we live in is vast, full of possibilities, and the number of opportunities we face allow us to know more about people and issues and further develop our abilities to achieve greater things.
Nope. I don’t mean to turn my back on family. Never. That’s not the case here. But, having to live independently in a foreign country makes a big difference than simply trapping yourself deeply to the known and familiar. Your ability to adapt to an unconventional lifestyle helps you grow as a person in an extra special way which brings me to my next point…
I SEEK BIGGER CHALLENGES, TAKING ME OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE
When abroad, dealing with challenges could seem more challenging than when at home. Unfamiliar surroundings. Different process. I was forced to always think outside the box, do things on my own without getting any help from people I know — not from family, not from friends. And you know what the best part is? Every time I overcome them, it feels so freaking good. It always feels like I have achieved something great.
Thing is, I need things that will challenge me enough. I want to do things that will stretch my patience and abilities to the limit, and pull it off way beyond that. I wish to get out of the bubble, expose myself to amazing experiences, converse in a different language, and just be able to experience the greatness this world has to offer.
I NEED TO BE MORE OPEN-MINDED
There’s nothing like having contact with people from other cultures. The differences in perspectives and values are readily apparent that, more often than not, may seem irritating but this is where our open-mindedness come out and play.
I’ve come to realize how my mental capabilities expanded and how smarter I became over the years just by simply living in a society that’s completely different from where I grew up.
I WANT TO KEEP LEARNING AND ACKNOWLEDGE MY SENSE OF WONDER
I’m a sucker for new and bizarre things. I crave for new knowledge, new information, all kinds that blow my mind. I’m one hell of a curious creature.
You may ask me… How can I justify these when such things can actually be taught in schools? When we live in the age of high-technology and everything is just one click away? Yes, damn right. Totally. But are we being taught enough to remember those? Do we even put them into practice?
I can honestly say I’ve always been that A student but man, do I even remember a single thing.
In life, I sure will encounter endless obstacles along the road and it will take me an open mind and a strong will to overcome and nail them. And by using these to get through each day of my life, nothing will keep me down. The one thing that has kept me going is my pursuit of happiness and I CAN’T LOSE THAT. I NEVER WANT TO LOSE THAT.
I NEED TO KNOW MYSELF BETTER
I’m saying this once again — I LOVE MY COUNTRY. And I’m not saying that staying here won’t make me better in any way. But you have to understand how much I feel lost in this place. I hate to break it to you but if you wish to ask me if I’ve ever seen a bright future of myself in this country, I’d honestly say “NAW” right away. When I’m far away from home, I am constantly faced with experiences and challenges that I’ve never encountered before, and just by seeing how I respond and act in new circumstances, I get the opportunity to perceive what my qualities are and acknowledge what I truly stand for better.
I never knew what I wanted to do here so I had to do myself a favor to keep my sanity and happiness — and leaving had always been the answer.
Living abroad, figuring things out all alone gives me that chance to better understand who I am as an independent and self-sufficient person and I love that, I need that.
ON THE BEAUTY OF LIFE
Having lived abroad for years, I learned to feel incredibly humbled and completely in awe of the complexity of the world we live in. Just being reminded of how I am unimaginably small, a fleeting speck within this immeasurable universe and realizing how it stands right at the edges of my comprehension brings tears to my eyes. I mean how can I fill my life with day-to-day pointless stresses? How can I complain so much, talk about shit and worry about things that really don’t matter in the whole scheme of things? Man, we’re so damn small but it’s just so freaking amazing to think that we are a part of something much bigger than anything we will ever know.
It puts me in the right state of mind – although it slaps me in the face at times, it encourages me to genuinely understand the diminutiveness of my reality compared to the grander parts of creation. Nothing happens by accident and we are all the same at the very core of our being. I have this heart for a reason. I think this way for a reason. It helps me to remember where I stand, and how I should remain inspired to take in more about this world, this life.
Also, on the grounds that I gained this perspective, IT MAKES ME LIVE MY LIFE WITH MORE PASSION, driving me to accomplish each and every goal in my life, helping me live life with a greater purpose and open myself to a more greater scope of pivotal life experiences that will help me become a better person in many ways.
And that, for me, is just the right way of living.
ON FEELING OUT OF PLACE IN MY OWN COUNTRY
Often times, I get that look whenever I come home. I even hear things saying how stupid and foolish of me to be doing what I’m doing now. Not that I don’t really care. Not that I don’t pay attention but, I figured out how to not tune in to people who close their psyches from life’s diversity. See, this is exactly why I hate staying.
But tell you what, things weren’t all pretty. I didn’t take the easiest path either. And just like everyone else, I have put all my time and effort to get to where I am now. I came to realize that they’ll never understand that this is the way I’m living, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Nonetheless, it revealed who my true friends are. I’ve seen who truly cared about who I was before and the person I’ve now become — who understood why I’ve changed, my life choices and priorities, and my new way of living. Those who remain particularly in contact, regardless of whether we don’t see each other that regularly.
So what is home to me now?
Home is basically everywhere.
It could be anywhere. A feeling. A state of mind.
It is where my heart gets filled with warmth and bliss.
Home is where I meet people of different ages, having different stories, coming from different places. And then we set off to a quick drive within city limits.
It is where the sight of glorious skies and soaring birds are found. It is where golden rays soar the unforgiving cliff sporting 360-degree views of the surrounding peaks.
I don’t need you to surmise that is some sort of disloyalty to my country because it’s not. I love the Philippines. It is my childhood. Man, we have the most beautiful beaches in the world. 7,107 island to choose from. Delicious food. A handful number of festivals. Insanely cheerful and welcoming people. Cheap drinks, hey?! But as days keep passing, my intense urge to keep learning and moving has increased. Rather than just staying in this place, I often spend my days thinking how will I get from point A to point B, and where to go next so I know I won’t get stuck again just like how it used to be. I knew that my tenacity helped me break out of the vicious loop, and man did that move fill my soul with joy. Getting negative remarks is more challenging than anything I have ever endured, but it helps me to always go back to the very reason why I’m pursuing the life I’ve always wanted for myself. Aint stopping now. Nope. There’s no other way to go but up.
Embracing the decision to move away from my homeland truly couldn’t have put me in a better mindset. In fact, it has made me appreciate it even more. It makes me look at it differently every time I come home – in a better way for sure. Now that I left Dubai, changed my mind about moving back to South Africa, and with a Euro trip close at hand, there are options… I could move to another city, work in a new country perhaps, teach English in South America (which I’ve always wanted to do), or, better yet, work remotely for a year or two.
Nonetheless, I’m working on bettering myself, though money is still a consideration.
The shining shimmering Kardashian dream is long gone and here I am, building my own HOME within me every day.
Home is not a place, not a structure, and never will be. Home is where both my heart and mind are at peace.
As for family, they will always be home — in my heart, always in my mind. And in spite of the fact that this implies leaving my loved ones, abandoning relationships, and tolerating uncertainty, I’m just happy to be the person I am today, and I have no aim of returning to my old propensities and traditions at any point in the near future.
Also, I realized one important thing…
Don’t compare my definition of home to yours. Don’t ever think that something’s wrong in your life because you have to remember that not every life, not every purpose and not every goal are the same. We live life on our own timeline. And I’m working to achieve my own success and purpose in life. And don’t, for a second, sweat over that.
I’m 24 and just like what I’m doing… just keep going, keep improving yourself and doing what you already are doing.
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Life is imperfect and scary and not in the slightest degree what we ever had planned but.. here we are. We’re making the best of it anyway. We’re doing things that make our hearts skip a million happy beats. We’re going out, seeing gorgeous places that make us look at the world from a different perspective. It may not always be what we had in mind but, for damn sure, it can be spectacular. Who gets out alive anyway? 🤷🏻♀️🤙🏻 // also, am i the only one who thinks this street is so DORP? 🤪